So the tree is up, the halls are getting decked, and with Christmas fast approaching it’s almost time to get wrapped up in some presents. (See what I did there?)
BUT Chris Those cute sparkly stars you decorate your festive table with? They do not end up in the night sky… and that’s not to speak of where our wrapping paper ends up.
So instead of focusing on the negative aspects, here are some easy, eco-friendly tips on having a more plastic-free festive season. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how easy these practices actually are.
Oh, Christmas tree…
This year my boyfriend and I moved into our first apartment and bought our first tree! And while first prize would have gone to buying an actual living tree that has a positive effect on the environment (I’ve tried it and uur tree, Harold, didn’t survive the season), our second best was buying a tree that we’ll be able to keep for a number of years. This is instead of having to buy a new plastic tree every couple of years.
We swapped out plastic ornaments for festive lights. Another great idea is to make your own decorations out of twigs and twine, using pine cones or hanging salt-dough creations. Heads up though, DO NOT try to eat them. Speaking from experience.
Advent calendars are a great way to create the hype and get kids interested in the lead-up to Christmas. And who are we kidding, some of us love the excitement as well. But the one thing that we could do without this year are those tacky plastic boxes and dinky toys. This year, replace them with something a little more meaningful by using a chest with small drawers that you can number to hide some hand-picked items. Or take it one step further by creating numbered parcels with a hand drawn card.
Local is lekker
Buying local, ethical sourced and created presents is one way to ensure that you’re being eco-friendly and supporting hard-working local entrepreneurs at the same time! We recently released our festive gift guides which you can check out here, with most of our writers choosing talented local designers and creators.
Time to wrap things up
Wrapping paper, although beautifully festive, arguably doesn’t last long. So I’ve made the swap to using newspaper (the comic strips work fantastically), brown paper, and even material to cover the prezzies in. Swap out the plastic bows and ribbons for natural twine or some repurposed material ribbons for some great textures and colours. For a little festive flare I add some hand-painted tags made from recycled card.
While this tip doesn’t pertain to the actual food itself, it does include the packaging that your food comes in as well as the way your table is decorated.
When shopping for your groceries this year, try to head to some local markets that are less likely to package your goodies in plastic, or head to a store like Pick ‘n Pay which now has plastic-free isles!
As for decorating the table, think of those Christmas crackers you buy every year. How long do you actually keep those little plastic toys for? Instead of decorating the table with crackers and glittery stars, mix it up with some ethically sourced candles and some succulents in glass jars as a great way to keep the spirit alive. Not only is it better for the environment, but it’s also something that you’re more than likely to keep track of.
You can check out more tips for a plastic-free festive season from WWF here: www.wwf.org.za